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The Real Nature of Religion
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As Far As The Eye Can See
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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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Farewell Fear
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The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
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interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
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Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky
















The Iconoclast

Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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"quite surprised by the results" -- Pollster in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a police-state, more effective in preventing outsiders from knowing what goes on inside than either Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. For it manages the fantastic feat of having millions of foreigners -- guest-workers or wage-slaves -- in Saudi Arabia, but the Mysteries of the Kingdom, and especially all the things that the Saudis don't want investigated -- the existence of slaves in a society that formally  abolished slavery, the fantastic debauches behind palace walls -- remain largely unknown.

Now it is clear that the Al-Saud wish to present a different face to the world. And they want to make the Americans think that the people they rule over are "pro-American." A polling organization in Saudi Arabia must, necessarily, use Arabic interpreters. These interpreters must, necessarily, speak the dialect of spoken Arabic spoken in Saudi Arabia. How, then, even if those conducting the opinion poll are non-Arabs (were they?) avoid the kinds of interference that, one can be sure, would have come from the Al-Saud, who can produce any damn results they want from any opinion poll conducted in the Kingdom, merely by letting it be known what they want, and therefore what answers to give.

And there are other problems, beginning with that question "Do you want closer relations with America"? How did that come out in Arabic? And what does it mean, or what would it be taken to mean? Does it mean: We Like or Love America and American ways. Or does it mean: We wish that those awful people who say awful things about Saudi Arabia, its rulers, its society, its textbooks, should be shut up, so we -- and the Americans who protect us, and who offer us a continuous open-for-business funfair-cum-brothel with diploma-mills on the side -- can continue, unworriedly, to pile up those trillions, some of them used to pay for those mosques in the America, nicely islamizing thanks to us, about which we will answer this question correctly -- don't worry -- for the gullible American poll-takers.

And they will be encouraged and "amazed" by the result. But the rulers with sneers of cold command in Riyadh and Jiddah will also be encouraged, but not "amazed" at all.

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Posted on 12/19/2007 10:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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"It is utterly impossible to appreciate social values at all or to discriminate between what is socially good and socially bad unless we appreciate the utterly different social values of different wars. The Greeks who triumphed at Marathon and Salamis did a work without which the world would have been deprived of the social value of Plato and Aristotle, of Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Thucydides. The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization, because the victories stretching through the centuries from the days of Miltiades and Themistocles to those of Charles Martel in the eighth century and those of John Sobieski in the seventeenth century. During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier and the Polish king, the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any "social values" whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence. There are such "social values" today in Europe, America, and Australia only because during those thousand years the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do - that is, to beat back the Moslem invader."

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Posted on 12/19/2007 9:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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"Money doesn't seem to have been their only motivation, police say. They also wanted to ridicule the art establishment." -- from this news story

They should all receive full pardons at once, and then be knighted, For Services To Art.

And let's not forget the movie rights, which I hope they can sell for a pretty penny to the Coen Brothers for their first production set outside the United States. I see something that's a cross between "The Ladykillers" and "Bells of St. Trinians," with more than a touch of "Laburnum Grove." Judy Dench as the mother, of course. And as the necessary neighbor, the sole outsider ever admitted into their house, because she has taken pity on them and especially on their son, someone with a throaty voice, evoking the inimitable Joan Greenwood, should be found. Possibly Cheryl Campbell possesses the necessary aural skills. And who shall we have play the father, now that Alastair Sim is no longer a possibility?  Bob Hoskins? Michael Gambon? Who? And who will play young Shaun?

Questions, questions. But it's unfair of you to expect me to figure out the whole thing right now. It's been years since I was a casting director, you know.

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Posted on 12/19/2007 9:27 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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I don't see this on the White House Press Release Page, so I couldn't check the veractiy of the quotations, but it is consistent with past years.

AKI (hat tip: JW): Washington, 19 Dec.- United States president George W. Bush on Wednesday sent a message of goodwill to Muslims worldwide at the start of the major Muslim Eid al-Adha festival of sacrifice.

"During Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world reflect on Abraham's unwavering faith and his trust in God when asked to sacrifice his son," Bush said in the message.

"These four days are a time for Muslims to honour Abraham's obedience by celebrating with family and friends and showing gratitude for the many blessings bestowed by God. 

"This holiday also helps ensure the important values of compassion and devotion are passed on to future generations," the message continued. 

Bush also paid tribute to the role played by Muslims in America, saying they "enriched" multicultural US society.

"The kindness, generosity, and goodwill displayed by American Muslims during this special occasion and throughout the year have contributed to the strength and vitality of our Nation," the message stated.

"May all those observing Eid al-Adha find love and warmth during this joyous holiday. Laura and I send our best wishes for a memorable celebration," the message ended.

Eid al-Adha, which lasts through Saturday, is one of the most important Muslim holidays. It commemorates the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael to Allah.

That story sounds familiar...

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Posted on 12/19/2007 9:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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Newsweek: The Greenhalgh family—47-year-old Shaun and his octogenarian parents, Olive and George—lived quietly together in a housing project in the heart of Britain's postindustrial north. From the street, their red-brick house looks just like their neighbors': tatty hanging baskets and small plastic windows, flanked by chimneys and the windswept moorland. So you can imagine the police's surprise when they raided the place, back in March 2006. "There were blocks of stone, a furnace for melting silver on top of the fridge, halffinished sculptures, piles of art books and a bust of Thomas Jefferson in the loft," says Ian Lawson from Scotland Yard's Arts and Antiquities Squad. That's right—Scotland Yard. The Greenhalghs' galley kitchen and garden shed doubled as one of the most prolific—and successful—art-forgery studios in the world.

Now the Greenhalghs' production line of fake art and antiquities has come to an end. Last month, after lengthy investigations that tracked the family's frauds to galleries across the globe, a trial judge sentenced Shaun to almost five years in prison for the production and distribution of forged works of art. Olive, 82, was given a 12-month suspended sentence for conspiracy to defraud, and George, 83—who approached galleries in his wheelchair and hatched the artworks' detailed "histories"—will be sentenced in January. The family had fooled art galleries and auction houses from Vienna to New York. Last week the Art Institute of Chicago disclosed that "The Faun," a half-man, half-goat sculpture attributed to Paul Gauguin, was also a Greenhalgh forgery. The family had made perhaps as much as $4 million from their crafty labors. But, curiously, they all lived off state welfare benefits. Money doesn't seem to have been their only motivation, police say. They also wanted to ridicule the art establishment. "They were just normal people," one neighbor says. "They were just happy having a drink of cider in front of telly."

It was hubris that got them in the end. After making almost $1 million from the sale of an Egyptian sculpture in 2003, the Greenhalghs approached the British Museum with an ancient Assyrian relief and talk of another large payout. Errors in the cuneiform script—essentially ancient spelling mistakes—prompted the already suspicious staff to contact Scotland Yard. "For a while they had us convinced," says the British Museum's John Curtis, who spotted the mistake. "But this very last project was the straw that broke the camel's back."...

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Posted on 12/19/2007 8:37 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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Posted on 12/19/2007 8:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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Michelle Malkin points us to this Cybercast News Service report that, though House Democrats gutted the funding for the fence the government has promised to build to show us all how serious it is about border enforcement, their massive appropriations bill manages to ensure that lawyers representing illegal aliens will be funded:

What can you say about a 3,500-page appropriations bill that stands more than a foot tall? Nothing good, according to Republicans. But Democrats are spinning the spending bill as a step in their much-talked-about "New Direction."

House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri said the bill is full of "misguided" policy decisions: "On one page, for instance, you will find a set of new restrictions on the construction of our security fence along the border; on another, $10 million in 'emergency' funding for attorneys of illegal immigrants.

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Posted on 12/19/2007 7:52 AM by Andy McCarthy
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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Jacob Zuma of  KwaZulu (who will, no doubt, soon be acquiring a pied-a-terre in The Albany), has defeated Thabo Mbeki in the election to head the African National Congress. This assures the selection of Zuma, who has been repeatedly accused of corruption and, by the daughter of one of his old friends, then deceased, of rape, as the man to succeed Mbeki as President of South Africa.  Mbeki was best known for his inability to grasp the principles of etiology and epidemiology, an inability that led him to believe that Aids was not caused by the HIV virus, that therefore retroviral drugs were unnecessary, and that Aids could be treated by what essentially amounted to folk medicine. That view, seconded by Mbeki’s Minister of Health (or was it she who convinced him?), prevented the government of South Africa from large-scale treatment of Aids patients with retroviral drugs, and also prevented it from acting effectively to prevent the continued spread of the disease across South Africa, where now more than 40% of pregnant women are estimated to have the HIV virus.

Hard to believe, isn't it, that the same country, the Union of South Africa, in the twentieth century managed to produce a leader who not only managed to make peace with those who had oppressed his people, and whom he had fought against, but when he ascended to power, became a symbol of reconciliation between those same two peoples in South Africa – indeed, so much so that he alienated some of his own kinsmen. That leader, farseeing and eloquent, was famous for defending the rights of the persecuted, and supporting ways to alleviate their plight, especially in the councils of the great. Though the head of a small state, he stood out at every international gathering, and was regarded as one of the few political leaders who was also a moral force, a man who at meetings of representatives from around the world would find his words keenly listened to, and then carefully reported by the world’s press. He was asked to address the chief parliamentary body of one of the major powers – a singular honor. He took part, at the highest level of international gatherings, in furthering cooperation among states.  Political figures -- delegates and representatives and leaders of the most powerful states of Europe and America – admired him, but so do did the wider publics in those states, regarding him as a man to be heeded, a world statesman equal to any of the leaders in their own countries.
 
Yes, it seems like only yesterday that instead of the likes of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma ruling over South Africa, and representing it before the world, the responsibilities of rule in that country were discharged by someone quite different, someone universally recognized as a Great Man. 

But nowadays, who cares to remember Jan Christiaan Smuts?
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Posted on 12/19/2007 7:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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Reuters: POLOKWANE, South Africa  - South Africa faced deep uncertainty on Wednesday after the greatest political shake-up since the end of apartheid set populist Jacob Zuma on the road to the state presidency.

Newspapers described Zuma's stunning victory in an election for leader of the ruling ANC as a tsunami, and said the defeated party boss, President Thabo Mbeki, had been humiliated. The tabloid newspaper Sowetan carried the headline "Zunami Rules".

Zuma not only defeated Mbeki but swept aside the entire old guard of the party, filling all top positions with his allies.

Despite fears by some investors that Zuma, who is backed by trade unions and the Communist Party, will push the country to the left, markets remained unmoved and there was little change in the rand. Investors said they had priced in a Zuma win...

Adding to the mood of uncertainty is the threat of corruption charges hanging over Zuma in relation to an arms buying scandal, which make it conceivable that he could be jailed before he succeeds to the presidency.

"We can anticipate this conflict extending over the next two years. It is going to be particularly precarious when Jacob Zuma gets charged, if he does get charged, over the corruption scandal," said political analyst Adam Habib.

Prosecutors said this month they had new evidence that could lead to renewed charges against Zuma, after a previous case collapsed.

The 65-year-old Zuma, an ethnic Zulu, has made a remarkable comeback after setbacks that would have buried most politicians.

Apart from the corruption scandal, he was acquitted of rape in 2006. Evidence in that case, including his admission that he showered after sex with an HIV-positive family friend to avoid infection, tarnished his reputation...

"Showered with an HIV-positive friend to avoid infection"?

Poor South Africa. What will the next decade bring?

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Posted on 12/19/2007 7:06 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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Asked how high he was willing to bid for the Magna Carta, Rubenstein [David Rubinstein, founder of the Carlyle Group, who at the Sotheby's sale was the high bidder] replied: "I don't think you can put a price on freedom."

No, of course not. But just to be on the safe side, he raised his bid to $19 million.
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Posted on 12/19/2007 6:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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I've said it once, and I'll say it again.

Well, I've heard of selling your birthright for a mess of pottage, but we've gone and sold Magna Carta to the Americans. In fact we sold it more than twenty years ago. From France 24 (so perhaps it isn't true), with thanks to Alan:

NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) - A rare 710-year-old copy of the Magna Carta, among the most important historical documents ever to hit the auction block, sold for $21.3 million on Tuesday at Sotheby's.
 
The document was bought by a Washington businessman who said he was determined to see it remain in the United States, where it has been on display at the National Archives and Records Administration since 1988.
 
The last remaining copy in the United States and the last in private hands, the Magna Carta, one of 17 known to exist, was sold by The Perot Foundation, created by billionaire former U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot to make philanthropic grants. The foundation acquired it from the collections of the Brudenell family of Deene Park in Northamptonshire in 1984.
The Magna Carta, which Sotheby's called "the most important document in the world," established the rights of the English people and curbed the power of the king.
 
The U.S. Constitution includes ideas and phrases taken almost directly from the charter, which rebellious barons forced their oppressive King John to sign in 1215.
 
Sotheby's said the Magna Carta was ratified and reissued with each monarch who succeeded John. It was enacted as law in 1297 by the British parliament when it was reissued by King
Edward I. The copy sold on Tuesday is from 1297.
 
Asked how high he was willing to bid for the Magna Carta, Rubenstein replied: "I don't think you can put a price on freedom."
So does this mean that the Americans have rights over the British?  Does Habeas Corpus mean they can have our bodies? Not to worry - according to Tad Safran, they wouldn't want us because we're fat gits and we're not plucked and botoxed enough.
So what did Magna Carta say? Sellar and Yeatman to the rescue:

1. That no one was to be put to death, save for some reason (except the Common People).
2. That everyone should be free (except the Common People).
3. That everything should be of the same weight and measure throughout the Realm (except the Common People).
4. That the Courts should be stationary, instead of following a very tiresome medieval official known as the King's Person all over the country.
5. That no person should be fined to his utter ruin (except the King's Person).
6. That the Barons should not be tried except by a special jury of other Barons who would understand.

Magna Charter was therefore the chief cause of Democracy in England, and thus a very Good Thing for everyone (except the Common People).

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Posted on 12/19/2007 6:02 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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Fast broadband goes underground. From the BBC, with thanks to Alan:

While politicians and network providers work out how they can afford to provide the UK with a network capable of delivering super-fast broadband speeds, one company is already doing it - via the sewers.

H20 networks has been in negotiations with water firms for the last five years and began rolling out its fibre-via-sewers network - known as Focus (Fibre Optical Cable Underground Sewer) in 2003.

That's a feeble acronym. How about "Subterranean Hyperspeed Internet Technology"?

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Posted on 12/19/2007 5:03 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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At New English Review, we like to ask important questions. I was about to ask an important question about teabags, but New Scientist pipped me to the post (h/t Alan):

Why, when you pour boiling water on a teabag, does the bag inflate?

William Hughes-Games, Waipara, New Zealand

Readers wrote in with suggestions:

I think there are two contributing factors. Firstly, hot water heats the air inside the bag, causing it to expand. Secondly (and probably more significantly), the boiling water rapidly releases water vapour, which inflates the bag. I'd guess that it's more difficult for air (or water vapour) to escape through the bag when it's wet. This could be why the inflation is fast and the bag doesn't rapidly deflate under its own weight.

Darn you, I want a cuppa now but I don't have any tea here.


I think the expansion of the air inside the bag is more important than any effect of water vapour. Less porous teabags inflate much more.
I like a drop of milk in my tea, but prefer the milk added first. This poses a problem when making tea in a cup with a tea bag. Hot water, when mixed with cold milk, is not hot enough to draw out a good brew. So I put the milk in the cup first, place the tea bag flat on top of the milk with plenty of air inside, then pour hot water carefully over the bag. The tea bag inflates and floats, and prevents the hot water and milk from mixing. Using a spoon, gently expel most of the air from the bag without disturbing the thermocline. Leave to brew, remove the bag and stir.
I seem to recall a 'factoid' regarding the effect of lipids on the rate of osmosis through membranes.... and that presence of lipids blocked the pores greatly reducing the transfer rate.

For tea: this means less 'brew' because the milk blocks the pores.

Another reason why you should only put milk in last when brewing with a bag!
I seem to recall Esmerelda saying that "milk in first" is common. For the definitive guide to making a cup of tea, see Pseudsday Tuesday on Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.
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Posted on 12/19/2007 4:46 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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BBC Radio 1 has bowed to mounting pressure to play the uncensored version of “Fairytale of New York” after a flood of complaints from listeners and the mother of the singer Kirsty MacColl.
Andy Parfitt, the station controller, admitted that the decision to bleep the word “faggot” from the iconic Christmas song had been “wrong” and said the uncut version would from now on be broadcast.
But after a day of heavy criticism, Mr Parfitt backed down, saying that the singers did not use the word with any “negative intent”.
MacColl’s mother, Jean, had dismissed the move as “pathetic and ridiculous”, saying that some of the world’s most famous writers used bawdy language.
“Shane has written the most beautiful song and these characters live, they really live, and you have such sympathy for them,” she said.
“Today we have a lot of gratuitous vulgarity, which I think is quite unnecessary. But these are characters and they speak like that.”
Radio 1 listeners also inundated the station’s website with complaints about the decision.
One wrote: “What an absolutely ludicrous decision. How can a song be played so much for 20 years, yet suddenly it’s offensive? So Radio 1 will be censoring the song but Radio 2 won’t? Nice to see some consistency from PC BBC.”
Another said: “I’m offended that you have edited this classic Christmas song. I would love to know what the person is like who, after 20 years of playing the song, now decides that someone 'might’ be offended. It’s pathetic.”
Even gay rights campaigners had criticised the decision as “misguided”.
Andrew Gilliver, spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, said: “I have spent hours ringing around and trawling the internet and I can’t find anyone in the gay community who is offended by this song, in fact it is well loved.
“Obviously that word put in a different context can be offensive, but not in this song, it is about how the word is used”. Exactly the same sensible point was made by one of our readers.
Shane MacGowan told Channel 4 News the row “says more about Radio 1 than about me or about anyone else”, adding that it was “probably quite a good thing, really ... because everyone will want to know what the bleeps are”.  He seemed bemused by the fuss, saying: “It’s just a pop song at the end of the day.”
Not everyone is happy however.
But gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said that Radio 1’s U-turn was evidence of double standards.  He said: “I doubt that the BBC would take the same relaxed attitude if this song included the n-word" or other ethnic slurs. “For the sake of consistency, the f-word should be deleted.  The BBC and other media urgently need to agree a consistent policy covering all forms of prejudiced language so that homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic and sexist words are all treated in the same way,” he said. 
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Posted on 12/19/2007 2:27 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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Steve Emerson writes at IPT:

On Friday, two Islamic converts, radicalized while in prison, pled guilty to terrorism charges, after admitting plots to attack "United States military operations, "infidels," and Israeli and Jewish facilities in the Los Angeles area."

The cell leader, Kevin James, founded Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (JIS) while incarcerated in Folsom prison, and began recruiting other converts. Levar Washington pled guilty, along with James last week, and a third cell member, Gregory Patterson, pled guilty on Monday.

A fourth JIS member, Hammad Samana, has been found unfit to stand trial, but is accused of having researched "targets and prepared a document called ‘Modes of Attack.' The document listed ‘LAX and Consulate of Zion,' ‘Military Targets,' ‘Army Recruiting centers throughout the county,' ‘Military base in Manhattan Beach' and ‘Campsite of Zion,'" on behalf of the cell.

The JIS plotters face 20 to 25 years in prison. The plots and guilty pleas come as no surprise to those who have closely followed prison chaplaincy programs, as all too often, those in charge of selecting imams have Wahhabist and radical links. Former NYC prison chaplain Warith Dean Umar has stated that the 9/11 hijackers should be remembered as martyrs, and Umar Abdul-Jalil, top Imam of the New York City Department of Corrections, has his own radical views. As reported by the NY Post, citing tapes provided by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), Abdul-Jalil spread his radical views at a Muslim Students Association conference in Arizona:

At one conference session, Abdul-Jalil charged that Muslims jailed after the 9/11 attacks were being tortured in Manhattan, according to the tape. "They [some Muslim inmates] are not charged with anything, they are not entitled to any rights, they are interrogated. Some of them are literally tortured and we found this in the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in Manhattan. But they literally are torturing people," Abdul-Jalil said.

Abdul-Jalil also accused the Bush administration of being terrorists, according to the tape. "We have terrorists defining who a terrorist is, but because they have the weight of legitimacy, they get away with it . . . We know that the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House, without a doubt," he said.

At another session, Abdul-Jalil urged American Muslims to stop allowing "the Zionists of the media to dictate what Islam is to us" and said Muslims must be "compassionate with each other" and "hard against the kufr [unbeliever]."

And still, despite deadly terrorist attacks perpetrated on U.S. soil, and the all too frequent instances of anti-American sentiment voiced by jihadists, the various usual suspects are intent on either underplaying the threat or pretending that none exists.

In a front page story in October 2006, titled, "F.B.I. Struggling to Reinvent Itself to Fight Terror," the New York Times dismissed out of hand the dangerous nature of the JIS cell in California (and called into question the validity behind other instances of U.S. based-terrorism cells), ...

The rest is here.

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Posted on 12/18/2007 7:27 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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PARIS — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined her counterparts in the international "Quartet for Middle East peace" yesterday in a rare formal rebuke of Israel for its plans to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank. --from this news item

Has Condoleeza Rice read the Preamble to the Mandate for Palestine? Is she aware that as far as the "West Bank" goes, the provisions of the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine are still in force? Is she aware that when the United Nations was created, it accepted, without change, the mandates left over from the League of Nations period? Is she aware that the Mandate for Palestine was set up for one purpose and one purpose only, to create the "Jewish National Home," which would inexorably become a Jewish State, and that in order to make this a reality, the Mandate required the Mandatory Authority to do two things.

The first was to "encourage Jewish immigration" into Mandatory Palestine, where Jews asked for nothing but the right to enter, and then to buy land, at whatever price it was offered (and the Arab, often absentee landlords, offered prices so exorbitant that in 1940 desert acreage was being offered at a price equal to the best Iowa farmland).

The second was to "facilitate close Jewish settlement on the land." That is in the Mandate. She can look it up.

She can also look up, if she cares to, the reports from such legal scholars as the Australian Julius Stone (called by Roscoe Pound the foremost legal scholar of the 20th century), Eugene Rostow (former Dean of the Yale Law School), the practitioner William Brinton and many others, on the legal status of the "West Bank" as an unallocated part of the Mandate for Palestine, to which Israel's claim is clearly superior, as the sole intended creation of the Mandate for Palestine (don't worry, there were mandates galore for the Arabs, who in the event came out of the whole messy twentieth century with 22 members of the Arab League, including the most fabulous natural resources, with Israel existing on far less than one one-thousandth of the total land area ultimately possessed by the Arabs.

And then there is Resolution 242, and the history of its wording, and how the English and Americans carefully did not permit the Arab delegates to amend the wording to include "all the territories" but kept the wording "the territories" and, modifying or limiting the whole agreement, the requirement that Israel have "secure and defensible borders." What constitutes "secure and defensible borders" is up to Israel, not up to Condoleezza Rice or anyone outside Israel to decide, any more than non-Americans have a right to dictate to us what measures we regard as indispensable to our own security.

Her not very intelligent, almost dyslexic boss, is greatly impressed with her. He's a child of privilege and at the same time a sentimentalist. He thinks of his "Condi" as quite a find, a black woman with a doctorate. But those of us who do not think in those terms and are so devoid of racism that we have no inhibitions about attacking anyone who deserves it, see her as a mediocre graduate student who simply kept being dutiful. Her idiotic remark about how the Shia' and Sunnis would simply "have to learn to get along" and her amazement at the Hamas victory, and her constant displays of surprise, based on her imperfect, practically non-existent, understanding of Islam, its texts, its tenets, its attitudes, its atmospherics -- she's had six years to find out about it, after all -- shows how very limited she is.

One would wish for her to be ignored. She is, however, still in authority. Fortunately, in brief authority. The clock is ticking. Let's see how much more money, in the next year,  can be given away to Muslims in order to appease them, and how much more damage can be done,  to Israel, or to other countries also facing  Lesser Jihads. Another year of this, and then possibly something better. Or, possibly, something -- hard to believe -- even worse.

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Posted on 12/18/2007 7:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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Posted on 12/18/2007 5:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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From a previous posting on Chavez and Islam from September 2, 2006:

"Islam and Marxism claim to offer, in their different ways, social – that is, economic -- justice. Marxism failed, and was seen to have failed, in the Soviet Union. In China, while the Communist Party continues to hold power capitalism, of the most unpleasant Dickensian-era kind, has been permitted to develop. Some of those who might once have been Marxists, or thought they were, because that was the most obvious vehicle for the expression of their resentment, discontent, unhappiness, may now find, because Communism seems so comically out-of-date, to find their new Answer to Everything in Islam. In any case Chavez, who started as a crude leveler, and has become a los-de-abajo caudillo, of the kind limned by Miguel Angel Asturias in El senor presidente and by many others (Martin Luis Guzman, Mario Vargas Llosa), appears to have a fondness for Islam not because he has the faintest idea what it is about, but because he knows one thing: it is the enemy of the United States, and by embracing or endorsing Hezbollah he thumbs his nose at the Colossus of the North. What he, Chavez, a primitive man, does not know, is that Islam does not offer social justice, is far more cruel and unfair in the distribution of wealth, both within Muslim countries, and among Muslim members of the umma, and that it has nothing to offer the world, save for a totalitarian belief-system. Of course Chavez cannot understand this, and of course the introduction of Hezbollah influence into Venezuela, and the appeal to anti-Americanism that also proved so effective for Arab and Muslim interests in turning much of the public in Western Europe against its own interests, as it overlooked the Muslim invasion, will have disastrous consequences not only in Venezuela, but in other countries of Latin America.

This is something that those in Latin America, whatever criticisms and doubts they may have about the United States and its historic role, must realize is a threat to liberal democracy. So far Muslims have not been permitted to enter Latin America in great numbers, though there are significant communities of Muslims (and of islamochristian Lebanese) in Brazil and Argentina, and certainly in that Wild West between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, and there are people of Arab descent who have climbed to the political top – think of Carlos Menem, bribed to prevent a thorough investigation of the people behind the bombing of the Jewish Center in Buenes Aires, Shafik Handal in Central America, and others. They are dangerous, and Chavez himself, bad enough without Hezbollah, is by allowing Hezbollah freedom of maneuver in Venezuela, doing things that will damage all Venezuelans – who have been damaged quite enough."

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Posted on 12/18/2007 4:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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Generally Pseudsday Tuesday has showcased verbal pseudery. For a change, today’s column deals with a musical pseud. I use the word “musical” in a very broad sense.

 

Click on the picture below to hear Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kontakte für elektronische Klänge, Klavier und Schlagzeug.

 

What’s it all about? Narrativity, that's what. Here to explain Stockhausen's narrativity is John Dack. I use the word "explain" in a very broad sense. Dack moves beyond the “bottom up” approach, perhaps because he wants to leave room for the words to get out:

 

Narrativity is not only able to accommodate such a so-called "bottom up" approach. Alternatively the work under consideration can be placed in a wider social/cultural context which concentrates on an examination of broader concerns ... An additional problem is the bewildering number of theories about narrative. Hillis Miller lists Russian Formalist, Bakhtinian, New Critical, Chicago or neo-Aristotelian, psychoanalytic, hermeneutic and phenomenological, Marxist, reader-response… amongst others.

 

I first encountered Stockhausen in Musical Appreciation lessons at school. Once was enough for all of us, including the teacher. Nasty, jarring noises that made no sense. I promptly forgot about him until 2001, when I read that he described 9/11 as “the finest work of art ever”. No change there then.

 

Oliver Kamm has some thoughts on Stockhausen that are worth reading. For now, the last word should go to a reader of Kamm’s piece who comments: 

When I was a student at the Royal College of Music in London, one of the professors strongly held the opinion that no potential professional musician should go through college without having played some "modern" (i.e. unpleasant-sounding) music. Like the music or loathe it, I think he had a good general point, in that musicians owe it to the composer to give a new piece the best possible performance, and to be appropriately trained to do so.

Anyway, one term, he managed to arrange for the college symphony orchestra to play Stockhausen's Carre. This was a square piece, for 4 orchestras positioned in the 4 corners of the hall. The conductors stood in the corners facing inwards so they could see each other and coordinate the beat, and the orchestras faced outwards each towards their own conductor, with the audience in the middle. Each orchestra was a couple of desks of each of the strings, a varied selection of woodwind & brass, an 8-voice chamber choir, and pretty much a full symphonic percussion section. Maybe a keyboard or two thrown in for good & useless measure.

The piece hadn't been performed in London for 35 years. We soon discovered why. I can honestly say that this is the only piece I have ever played where for the entire duration of the music I couldn't actually tell whether I was playing the right notes or not. The singers had tuning forks more or less permanently to their ears to try and help them pitch their notes. There were really no cues you could take from the players around you.

The students rapidly took a fairly lighthearted approach to rehearsals, to the annoyance of the professors. There was a harpsichord player in the 4th orchestra, who rapidly cottoned on to the fact that nobody could hear her over the percussion, and practised Bach and Handel throughout the rehearsals.

We all assumed that nobody would want to come & hear this junk, even though RCM concerts were free for the public. When we filed into the hall for the concert, we were astonished to find the place absolutely packed with people standing in the gallery.

We later discovered that someone had publicised the concert, and because it was so long since the piece had been played in London, all the atonal music junkies had come to hear it. In London, there are just about enough Stockhausen fans to fill a medium sized concert hall if they all turn up on the same night.

Anyway, all went fine in the performance, we made a raucous din for about 30 minutes. The problem came towards the end. The conductor of the 4th orchestra got lost and out of time with the other three. As a result, in the 4th orchestra we finished about 30 seconds early. Nobody noticed. We got a standing ovation and a rave review from the Times music critic.

I was there too, playing John Cage's 4'33". Nobody heard me, but sometimes nobody hears a tree when it falls in the forest. I made silence, and it was golden.

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Posted on 12/18/2007 2:11 PM by Mary Jackson
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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Topping the donors' list [to the "Palestinians"] were the European Union, which pledged $630 million, the United States, with a $555 million pledge, and Saudi Arabia, which will donate $500 million. --from this news article

$500 million?

That's a half day's revenues for Saudi Arabia. That's it?

And what about Kuwait, the U.A.E., Qatar, Libya, and all the other Muslim oil states that have done nothing to deserve their fabulous wealth?

It is a great error for any Infidel state or people to supply what is seen, by Muslim recipients, and soon after comes to be treated by the Infidel donors themselves, as the due of the Muslims, owed to them by the Infidels -- in other words, a classic payment of the Jizyah.

It is madness. It infuriates. If Congress can stop this "donation" (as it is piously called) it should.

Presidential candidates of both parties should make an issue of this, the product of ignorance of Islam, the attitudes of Islam, including the triumphalism, and the desire to everywhere force Infidels to pay, in whatever form, that Jizyah (if those Infidels wish to save face by calling it "foreign aid" the Muslims don't care -- they know that the Infidels are too scared to deny Muslims this aid, and though there was a brief, uncharacteristic halt, but only to the aid to the "Palestinians" and not to Egypt, Pakistan, or that being lavished on corrupt Iraqis), the spigot has been turned on again, and the "Protected People" have tugged at their forelocks in Paris.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and John Edwards have as much right as Romney and Giuliani and Huckabee and the others to ask aloud why the Americans, having contributed more than a trillion dollars to Iraq, and hundreds of billions to Afghanistan, and $60 billion to Egypt, and $27 billion (the figure calculated by Selig Harrison) to Pakistan since 2001 alone, and billions to the "Palestinian Authority" along with other billions sent by the Europeans, many of those billions having disappeared, without a trace, when Arafat died. Where are those billions? And why is it that the "Palestinians," who have received, per capita, more than any other group, in aid, in history, should continue to receive that aid, above all when the Slow Jihad boys have semaphored or said, in every forum, that they have no intention of making a permanent peace but only a hudna, a hudna to be accompanied by demands so grotesque, so dangerous for Israel's survival, that they can never be met, and so the reason for the future breaching of that "truce treaty" is already contained in the proposals now being made?

When, that is, will the Infidels of threatened Europe begin to realize that they are no different from, just a little further down on the To-Do List, threatened Israel?

How horrible that, with ten trillion dollars having been transferred, since 1973 alone, from oil-consuming nations to the Muslim oil states, that still more billions and tens and hundreds of billions, are spent by the profligate and ignorant and timid West, in the mistaken hope that "poverty" is what makes the "Palestinians" or any other Muslim Arabs insistent on waging war. It is not "poverty." It is Islam.

The Infidels refuse to take Islam seriously. This incredible offer shows it. Utter folly. It disgusts. It maddens.

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Posted on 12/18/2007 2:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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As part of a new partnership with Nicaragua's Sandinista President Daniel Ortega, Iran and its Venezuelan allies plan to help finance a $350 million deep-water port at Monkey Point on the wild Caribbean shore, and then plow a connecting "dry canal" corridor of pipelines, rails and highways across the country to the populous Pacific Ocean. Iran recently established an embassy in Nicaragua's capital. --from this news article

"Palestinians" and other Arabs have been arriving in Latin America for some time. And the Lebanese and Syrian Christians, who are often the descendants of those arrived earlier, are worked on by these newer Muslim arrivals -- the theme of "Uruba" or "Arabness" is played upon. Some of these Christian Arabs are, or can become, islamochristian supporters, just as elsewhere in the West, and some have nothing to do with it. But the Muslim influx alone is worrisome. Heavily Catholic Latin America -- or Catholic and now Evangelical Protestant -- may not, however, be as hampered by its own self-imposed solicitudes and hesitancies as hobble efforts in North America and Western Europe to deal with the menace of Islam. But help, practical help, logistical help, is needed to locate, and monitor, these threats, and deal with them appropriately. It should not be a case only of "helping los norteamericanos" to stop terrorist threats but of helping themselves, the people in Latin America who are part of the West, and who so far live in an area that has been freer of the threat than other parts of that West. Those who recognize the menace of Islam to the art, science, freedoms, and indigenous folkways -- and Islam crushes diversity, for it is a one-size-fits-all Total Belief System, whatever those constant propagandistic pratings about "Islam is not a monolith." Islam is indeed a monolith as a mental system, for it is not so much a religion as a Total System, covering politics, economics, social life, and attempts not only to regulate -- to command or prohibit -- every facet of existence, but also supplies a Complete Explanation of the Universe, offers a Total Belief-System that is not merely indifferent but hostile to everything that is outside Islam, and that includes the non-Islamic histories, and cultures, of Latin America, whether of the Spanish and Portuguese who arrived, and their descendants, or of the indigenous Indians and the rich profusion of their own histories, or of what comes of the mix.

Those in Latin America, properly alerted to the danger, are likely to be harder-headed in dealing with such a threat. No one should stop them.

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Posted on 12/18/2007 1:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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Something thoroughly nasty in Bradford. From The Yorkshire Post and This is London.
A DISTURBING "sing-along" DVD for children which appears to glorify suicide bombing was last night under police investigation after being found on sale in Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire Post has obtained a disc of music videos – part of an Egyptian-made series – in which a young girl sings about following in the footsteps of her suicide bomber mother. A group of self-proclaimed orphans also rail against the West over the plight of the Palestinian people.
The children's DVD was purchased in Bradford and full details of the Leeds-based UK distributors are contained on the back of the cover.
The Yorkshire Post has handed over the material to the West Yorkshire Police specialist counter terrorism unit, and officers have confirmed that they are investigating the contents.
All three of the DVD's tracks are sung by children in Arabic with English subtitles.
The first song is about two children who lose their mother when she becomes a suicide bomber. It believed to be a reference to Reem al-Reyashi, a 22-year-old Palestinian mother-of- two who blew herself up on January 14, 2004, at a crossing, in the Gaza Strip, killing four Israelis.
The video begins with an Arab woman playing with her two children, then leaving her home with dynamite tucked in her dress, blowing herself up after being challenged by uniformed soldiers, and her children and husband finding out about her death on TV.
The elder of her two clearly upset children, a girl, asks why their mother would leave them and says of her toddler brother: "He doesn't eat except in your arms. Everything for him is you (sic)."
A child holds a stick of dynamite in a scene from the DVD. Click PLAY to watch the footage
But there is a disturbing change of tone towards the end of the track. Rummaging around her mother's wardrobe, the girl finds a stick of dynamite hidden in a drawer and, turning to look at the camera, concludes with a steely gaze and the chilling words: "My love will not be by words. I will follow my mother's steps."
Last night, Shipley MP Philip Davies, who was passed the DVD by a Bradford resident, said: "It's outrageous that this kind of material is so readily available in parts of West Yorkshire and it beggars belief that somebody is prepared to proudly proclaim that they distribute this material.
"My worry is how many people have had access to this kind of material and how many children may have already been influenced by it."
The MP contacted police after being passed the DVD by a concerned resident. He was told that the disc had been sold at a mosque in the city. Keep the receipt safe is my advice, and get the purchaser to swear an affidavit.
He said: "I thought it was sick and totally and utterly unacceptable. It seems to be directed at children and I find it quite disturbing. It strikes me as being incitement to terrorism. I hope that the people that distribute the material will be arrested and charged."
Above, a still picture of a child holding a stick of dynamite and the "child song" logo at the start of the DVD.
Video footage available via the play button here. It is ghastly.
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Posted on 12/18/2007 10:49 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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A few days ago, comedian and actor Alan Davies bit a tramp's ear in a tussle after a friend's funeral. "Tramp" is probably "bum" in American, but English bums don't have ears. Not modern English bums anyway, although confusingly the Old English word "ears" is our modern English "arse". Bummer. Back to the story, reported in The Times:

The comedian and actor Alan Davies insisted yesterday that he was “not normally an aggressive guy” after being accused of biting a tramp’s ear while drunk.

Best known on screen for his curly mop of hair and faux-idiotic demeanour, Mr Davies, a vegetarian, was accused of sinking his teeth into Paul McElfatrick outside the Groucho Club in Soho, Central London, last week.

I've always had my doubts about vegetarians. No good will come of it. If you don't eat animals you get perilously peckish and start eating people. To be fair, on the TV programme Have I Got News For You, it was pointed out that it was OK for vegetarian Alan Davies to have another bite, because the tramp now had a cauliflower ear.

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Posted on 12/18/2007 9:58 AM by Mary Jackson
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Tuesday, 18 December 2007
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The quote here attributed to Ben Franklin by delighted antisemites is a fabrication. No doubt there are many other such "quotes" circulating in those circles.

Nor, of course, are antisemites the only creators of false quotations or stories. There is the Donation of Constantine. The Zinoviev Letter. Und so weiter, to the end of time. One fully expects, any minute now, to see a "letter" in Aramaic -- or possibly even Arabic -- attributed to Jesus himself, in which Jesus explains that he is a disciple of "the one who is to come, the Prophet of Arabia" -- a "letter" that, no doubt, will be enthusiastically spread all over the Umma.

In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, one runs into those who are convinced that Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, and many other figures famous in the West are black,  and while white people have managed to hide this truth from many, they haven't succeeded with unfoolable black Africans. 

There is no end to this.

Postscriptum:

Franklin also had good things  falsely attributed to him. There were those in Europe who assumed that Franklin was the author of the anonymous "Common Sense." Thomas Paine, who did so much between January and July of 1776 to change public opinion in the colonies, seldom got credit for what he did. His "The Rights of Man" was the first book that he wrote under his real name. It was natural that some Europeans would give Franklin, whose name was so well known in Europe, credit that belonged to Paine.

For more on the misattribution, by Radishchev and others in Russia, of Paine's work to Franklin, see the articles by Klara Rukshina, one of the world's great authorities on Paine.

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Posted on 12/18/2007 7:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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